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A couple months ago, I wrote a post regarding community and intimacy, about how these two traits provide a balm over the loneliness many singles in the church viciously wrestle with. The point was to highlight how God has set up his church to be a place and people where these two attributes manifest, mainly because he has had community and intimacy, by way of the Trinity, since before the world existed.

I have been thinking deeply about how both community and intimacy are not separate ways of living for the believer but, in fact, complementary in nature and congruently juxtaposed to one another. Basically, community without intimacy leads to clutter; and intimacy not found in the confines of community can just as easily lead to idolatry. Of the two, community seems to be the easiest to find. Outside of proximity problems, placing ourselves inside the body is not difficult. But what about intimacy? What is it? And how do you find it?

Intimacy Desired Rightly
I’ve talked more in depth of intimacy, using Psalm 139 to show that God intimately knows me, thoroughly and truly, and also 1 John 1 to show that I was made to be deeply known inside community.

But what happens when you long for intimacy in a way that isn’t being fed inside the beautifully set bounds of community? Is the problem external or internal? This is the introspective crossroad I found myself recently.

As a single male, walking in light among my brothers and sisters, I am constantly faced with the dilemma of properly seeking intimacy. Both singles and married couples can sometimes reduce intimacy to something that only married people can enjoy. No one would deny that marriage provides an intimacy that seems almost ethereal at times. This idea that two people pledge themselves, the entirety of themselves, to one another in a committed, self-sacrificing covenant that only ends under the separation and ending of life is a beautiful picture indeed. But what about the single man and woman? Are we to marvel at that kind of intimacy from afar, always enjoying the view, but never the actual experience?

God is Intimacy
In Paul David Tripp’s new book, Awe, he shows us we were created to be in constant awe of God, and that ever since the Fall of Man (Genesis 3), we have been desperately in need of regaining that awe back, but always looking to replace the “awe God with awe of self.”

In one chapter, Tripp breaks down a crucial characteristic of God that rings true to all of his virtues and character traits. Tripp takes us back to the Garden of Eden to the moment Satan tempts Eve, showing us that Eve, in that moment, forgot the same thing we forget about God when we look at ourselves instead of our all-knowing Creator.

After the enemy gave Eve some “compelling” reasons to commit treason against her Loving Father, the verse reads: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of this fruit and ate…” (Genesis 6:3). Tripp writes “Eve was enjoying close, personal, loving, daily communion with the One who is Wisdom. She was in fellowship with the most awesome source of wisdom that ever existed or ever would exist. She didn’t need wisdom….So what then was Eve seeking?”

Please notice this. Eve forgot that God is Wisdom himself. Wisdom comes from God. Without God, true wisdom does not exist. The same is true with all characteristics of God: Love, Justice, Truth, Wisdom, and Intimacy. Without God, intimacy does not exist. He created intimacy, and by creating us, he not only created us to desire intimacy, but created us in such a way that we will only find it in him.

God is intimacy. “Common grace” allows even unbelievers to experience intimacy. But this is only allowed, because God exist. Romans 1 says God’s essence and presence is evidently seen throughout his creation. The side-effects of God’s spiritual footprint is everyone’s ability to enjoy the fruits of his characteristics. But for the believer, we have a deeper intimacy beyond just a trail essence of his being. And this intimacy is found in, yes, a marriage.

Beginning and Ending in Intimacy
If you are a believer, you are already married. This divine cosmic proposal came through God sending Jesus to earth. Jesus bought and offered salvation. The cross became a sovereign engagement ring by which God invites his children to be joined to him through Christ for all eternity. The wedding culminating this engagement is the setting for Revelations 21:2-3: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

Take note of the matrimonial and intimate language used here. God is with man, he dwells with them, we are his people, and He is our God. Here we see God pledging himself to us in a never-ending covenant. These are the most beautiful wedding vows ever spoken. God’s desire to be intimate with his creation has always been and will always be.

The Intimately Unmarried
Marriage as we see it here on earth is only a glimpse compared to the true marriage that will transcend millennia and last eternally. Marriage is a good thing to desire; it glorifies God when we want a marriage that glorifies him. But you do not have to wait for an earthly marriage to have intimacy.  God has called you into intimacy now with him that will outlast earthly marriage. Intimacy by God’s grace is available to us now, single and married.

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